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JOB 10


Job Despairs of God's Dealings Job: I Would Plead With God Reply of Job
God's Justice Is Above All Law

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



A. Job 10 continues Job's response to Bildad, begun in Job 9.


B. Job's response is related more to Eliphaz's speech from Job 4-5 than to Bildad. However, Job speaks directly to God in Job 10.


C. This chapter reflects Job's discouragement. He questions God and asks Him why He has acted unfairly toward him. He wants to

1. never have been born

2. die quickly after birth 

This repeats Job 3.


D. In a sense these are the questions Job would have asked God if he had his day in court (i.e., Job 10:1-7).


E. Job 10:4-6 and 13 are very harsh accusations against God! Job's bitterness (Job 10:1) has affected his thinking. He has developed a false view of God. He feels God is attacking him (i.e., Job 16:13-14; 19:10-12) and possibly other innocent followers. Yet, still he seeks Him (cf. Job 23:8-9).



 1"I loathe my own life;
 I will give full vent to my complaint;
 I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
 2I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me;
 Let me know why You contend with me.
 3‘Is it right for You indeed to oppress,
 To reject the labor of Your hands,
 And to look favorably on the schemes of the wicked?
 4Have You eyes of flesh?
 Or do You see as a man sees?
 5Are Your days as the days of a mortal,
 Or Your years as man's years,
 6That You should seek for my guilt
 And search after my sin?
 7According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty,
 Yet there is no deliverance from Your hand.'"

10:1-7 This strophe starts out with Job's loathing of his life (similar to Job 3). He wants to ask God why, if he is innocent, has He sent such terrible judgments.

10:1 " I loathe" There is some confusion about this verb (i.e., MT puts vowels for a Qal stem but it is a Niphal).

1. uncertainty over the root

a. נקטה – Qal perfect (MT)

b. קוט – BDB 876, KB 1083, Niphal perfect

2. this verb, "to loathe," #b is parallel to קדע (BDB 880); another verb, "to loathe," (BDB 549) is used in Job 9:21

3. the root BDB 876 (#b) is used of

a. God – Ps. 95:10; 119:158

b. faithless Israel who will repent – Ezek. 20:43; 36:31

c. the author of Psalm 139 toward those who hate God – Ps. 139:21


10:1b-c Since Job already hates his life and wants to die, he will speak clearly to God.

1. I will give full vent to my complaint (BDB 736, KB 806, Qal cohortative)

2. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul (BDB 180, KB 210, Piel cohortative, note Job 3:20; 7:11; 21:25)

3. I will say to God (BDB 55, KB 65, Qal imperfect)


10:2-3 This lays out Job's case by means of a series of questions.

1. Do not condemn me, Job 10:2 – BDB 957, KB 1294, Hiphil imperfect negated, used in a jussive sense; this verb means "to condemn as guilty," cf. Deut. 25:1; 1 Kgs. 8:32; Job 9:20; 15:6; 32:3; this is what God is accusing Job of doing in Job 40:8

2. Let me know why You contend with me, Job 10:2

a. know – BDB 393, KB 390, Hiphil imperative; if Job knows his sin he will stop it and repent

b. contend – BDB 936, KB 1224, Qal imperfect, meaning "take to court"

c. the word "why" is the key thought!

3. Is it right for You (lit. "does it seem good to You," no verb)

a. to oppress – BDB 798, KB 897, Qal imperfect (BDB has "deal tyrannically")

b. to reject – BDB 549, KB 540, Qal imperfect, cf. Job 8:20; Lam. 5:22

c. to look favorably on the schemes of the wicked – BDB 422, KB 424, Hiphil perfect (lit. "caused to shine forth")


10:3 "the labor of Your hands" This can refer to

1. God's creation of humans in the womb, cf. Job 10:18a; 31:15; Ps. 139:13-16

2. God's forming humans from clay/dust, cf. Gen. 2:7; 3:19; Job 4:19; 8:19; 10:9a; 33:6; 34:15; Isa. 29:16; 64:8

3. an assertion of God's creation but without specific reference to #1 or #2, cf. Job 14:15; Ps. 119:73; 138:8

4. John H. Walton, The NIV Application Commentary, Job (pp. 172-173) notes that the creation of humans out of dust was a common ANE motif (i.e., Sumerian, Akkadian, Egyptian)


10:4-6 This is a series of questions that address God's actions toward Job.

1. Do You see as humans see?

2. Are Your days like human days?

3. Do You

a. seek for my guilt – BDB 134, KB 152, Piel imperfect

b. search after my sin – BDB 205, KB 233, Qal imperfect

The Jewish Study Bible (p. 1518) makes a good observation:

"Job's sarcastic accusation here is among the most powerful in the book, demanding that God act like God, and not a human being."

The ANE gods had all the faults of humans. Job's God was supposed to be different (cf. 1 Sam. 16:7; 1 Kgs. 8:39), see SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD).

10:5 Two different, but parallel, words for humans are used.

1. Job 10:5a – enosh (BDB 60)

2. Job 10:5b – geber (BDB 149)

The root of #1 is "weak" and the connotation of #2 is "strong," but here they are parallel (cf. Job 4:17).

10:7 This is the climactic conclusion.

1. Job asserts that God knows that he is not guilty, Job 10:7a, cf. Job 1:1; 9:21; 13:18

2. yet He will not deliver (Hiphil participle) him

This is a charge of injustice! This may also give rise to the need for an advocate who can deliver from God's unfair wrath/justice. Job senses he does not have a hope in his quest for justice before God.

 8"'Your hands fashioned and made me altogether,
 And would You destroy me?
 9Remember now, that You have made me as clay;
 And would You turn me into dust again?
 10Did You not pour me out like milk
 And curdle me like cheese;
 11Clothe me with skin and flesh,
 And knit me together with bones and sinews?
 12You have granted me life and lovingkindness;
 And Your care has preserved my spirit.
 13Yet these things You have concealed in Your heart;
 I know that this is within You:
 14If I sin, then You would take note of me,
 And would not acquit me of my guilt.
 15If I am wicked, woe to me!
 And if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head.
 I am sated with disgrace and conscious of my misery.
 16Should my head be lifted up, You would hunt me like a lion;
 And again You would show Your power against me.
 17You renew Your witnesses against me
 And increase Your anger toward me;
 Hardship after hardship is with me.'"

10:8-17 In this strophe Job asserts

1. God's special creation of himself and all humans (Job 10:8-11). The purpose in doing this is to ask the question, "Now would You destroy me?" (Job 10:8b). The same hands that made mankind now destroys one of them, an innocent one!

2. God knows this but why has He hidden Himself from Job (Job 10:13). Humans cannot understand God's way (cf. Job 17:4; 24:1; and Isa. 55:8-11 for a theological parallel).

3. If Job is sinful he should be judged.

4. But he is innocent (God knows this) yet God still acts as if he were a sinner.


10:9 This verse asserts the frailty and transitoriness of mankind, similar to Ps. 103:14, but as Ps. 103:8-14 is a positive context; Job is negative!

10:10 Apparently ANE mythology thought humans were created when the sperm united with the mother's blood and then congealed.

The word "cheese" (BDB 148) occurs only here but there are Semitic cognates.

10:11 "knit me together" This verb (BDB 697, KB 754, Poel imperfect) is found only here and Ps. 139:13. Both contexts deal with the formation of a baby in the womb.

There is a spelling variant. BDB 697, סכך and BDB 968 II, שכך; see NIDOTTE, vol. 3, pp. 253-254 and 252 #7.

10:12 This verse describes what Job believed God provided to faithful followers.

1. life (BDB 313)

2. lovingkindness (BDB 338, see Special Topic: Lovingkindness)

3. care (BDB 824, lit. "God's visitation," in ths context, for blessing

4. preserved my spirit (BDB 924) – BDB 1026, KB 1581, Qal perfect (see SPECIAL TOPIC: SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE)

This is how Job had experienced God before the crisis of Job 1-2. This is how he will see God again at the end of the book. This is the truth; the rest is Job's pain and bitterness talking!

10:13 Job thinks that even in the "good" days God had a secret plan to bring disaster to him! Wow! Job is bitter and confused!


10:15 This repeats the shocking thought of Job 9:22. Bad things are sent by God to both the innocent and the guilty! "The two ways" is not true! God's character is being questioned!

▣ "woe to me" This exclamation (BDB 47) is found only here and in Micah 7:1.

▣ "lift up my head" There are two possible connotations.

1. the action of a self-confident person or nation that aligns itself against God (cf. Jdgs. 8:28; Ps. 83:2; Zech. 1:21)

2. the opposite of what an accused person does in court before the judge


10:16 "Your power against me" This is literally, "You work wonders against me." Job uses this word, "wonderful" (BDB 810) in Job 5:9; 9:10; 37:5,14; 42:3. God's wonderful acts are now directed against Job! See Special Topic: Wonderful Things (OT).

10:17 "Your witnesses" This could refer to

1. a court scene where people like Job's three friends, or neighbors, accuse him

2. imagery (i.e., Job 10:17c) for all the trials, tests, and disasters that Job experienced (i.e., Job 1-2)


NASB"hardship after hardship"
NKJV"changes and war"
REB"You bring fresh troops"
TEV"You plan some new attack"
NJB"Your troops assailing me, wave after wave"
LXX"brought trials"
Peshitta"You array one host after another"

The MT has "changes and a host with me." The term "host" (BDB 838) has a military connotation. It is used in the description of Israel's army in God's name in Exod. 12:41; and of God Himself in Jos. 5:14,15. Job feels God attacks him with fresh troops again and again. This is imagery of his sense of abandonment by God. God has changed from a protector and provider to a recurrent attacker!

 18"‘Why then have You brought me out of the womb?
 Would that I had died and no eye had seen me!
 19I should have been as though I had not been,
 Carried from womb to tomb.'
 20Would He not let my few days alone?
 Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer
 21Before I go—and I shall not return—
 To the land of darkness and deep shadow,
 22The land of utter gloom as darkness itself,
 Of deep shadow without order,
 And which shines as the darkness."

10:18a See full note at Job 10:8-17.

10:18b-19 Job wishes he had never been born or that he had lived a very short time (cf. Job 3:16).

10:20 Job wants God to just leave him alone (cf. Job 7:19; 9:18; 14:6; compare Ps. 39:13). He feels God is constantly watching him, not for peace and protection, but to count sin. What a shocking statement! Job has sought God's presence all his life, now he wants God to leave! Life's pain and problems cause bad theology! Thank God for inspired revelation!

The MT has the first two verbs as Qal imperfects used in a jussive sense (LXX), but the Masoretic scholars suggested they be read (Qere) as Qal imperatives, "cease!" (i.e., prayer requests).

10:21-22 Job speaks of death (i.e., Sheol) as (uses five different words for "darkness"):

1. the land of no return, Job 10:21a (cf. Job 7:8-9; 16:22; 2 Sam. 12:23)

2. the land of darkness (BDB 365, cf. Job 3:4,5; 17:12; often associated with Sheol, cf. Job 17:13; 18:18)

3. the land of deep shadow (BDB 853, cf. Job 3:5; 34:22; associated with Sheol in Job 38:17)

4. the land of utter gloom (BDB 734 I, only here and Amos 4:13)

5. darkness itself (BDB 66, the gloom, darkness of Sheol, personified in Job 3:6a)

6. deep shadow without order (BDB 853), see #3. The word "order" (BDB 690) occurs only here in the OT. Sheol is like the initial chaos of creation (i.e., is like ANE mythology).

7. shines as darkness (BDB 66), see #5 (this is similar imagery to Ps. 139:11-12)

The ANE characterized Sheol as "the house of darkness." The fact that ancient Hebrew had five roots for "darkness" shows its theological significance!


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. To whom does Job speak in Job 10?

2. List the negative things Job says about God in Job 10.

3. How is Job 10:8-12 contrasted with Job 10:13-17?

4. What does Job 10:21-22 describe?


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